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Bi-Monthly Boosts Of Aspirin Benefit Heart

DALLAS, Feb. 3 -- Individuals who take low-dose aspirin to stave off repeat heart attacks or strokes should substitute a higher booster dose twice a month to increase the drug's effectiveness, say researchers today reporting in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

According to recently issued recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA), aspirin is advised for individuals who have had a heart attack or stroke or are at high risk due to family history. Prior studies have shown that aspirin offers protection against heart attacks or strokes for only about 25 percent of individuals for whom this inexpensive household drug is appropriate.

The new research suggests that aspirin therapy can work more effectively if a 325-mg booster is taken in place of the lower dose aspirin on the first and 15th of the month.

"Aspirin is not the most ideal agent, but it is one of the best we have and it is the most economical. The goal of our work is to improve therapeutic responsiveness to aspirin," says one of the study's authors Aaron Marcus, M.D., chief, hematology and medical oncology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Cornell University Medical College, New York. Teresa Santos and Juana Balles and colleagues carried out the research at the University Hospital La Fe, Valencia, Spain in collaboration with Marcus' laboratory.

Aspirin helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by blocking the generation of thromboxane, a chemical produced by blood platelets. These disk-shaped blood components accumulate at sites of vascular injury, such as atherosclerotic plaque, and contribute to clot formation. If the blood clot occludes the vessels, which nourishes the heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke occurs.

However, these and other studies from this research group have found that platelets continue to clump, even when aspirin blocks thromboxane formation. The researc
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Contact: Brian Henry
brianh@amhrt.org
214-706-1135
American Heart Association
3-Feb-1998


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